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When I have my own consulting rooms or practice, I’ve made an I think very important resolution. I’m going to throw all those women’s magazines in the recycling. You know the ones, the ones that go on about how celebrities are too fat and too skinny (possibly after they’ve just given birth). The ones that give bogus dating advice about how to manipulate men into relationships and “keep them keen”, as well as terrible, terrible psychological and medical advice.

These magazines are ubiquitous in the doctors’ waiting rooms (as well as dentists, hairdressers, you name it) as well as in hospital tea rooms. I suspect that these publications have acquired some form of replication, otherwise how to account for their huge and expanding numbers?

Why am I on the warpath about these trashy pieces of crap? Because honestly, the advocate for exactly the opposite of good health. Their models are Photoshopped to look unnaturally thin. While at the same time saying that post-pregnancy celebrities are too fat or too thin for looking essentially normal. It’s so exaggerated that it’s mostly laughable if you’re in the know, I guess. But you know, there’s no way to win with The Women’s Weekly or Cleo. It’s a game where the only option, sadly, is to lose.

The relationship “advice” is particularly pernicious. How to dress and behave to “snag” a man. How to appear “hard to get” so as to manipulate someone into liking you. How to “treat them mean” and “keep them keen”. What kind of guys are losers. How to give the best blow job. Are you kidding me? This stuff is the equivalent of male “pick-up artist” forums.

As ever, it all feeds into the idea that “having a man”, “having a wedding”, “having a hot body” and “having babies” is all about “having” an object and means in which to achieve this ends. A profound status anxiety centred around a social materialism where you think of relationships as objects.

As a doctor there is no way that I could ever, ever be comfortable with promoting this sort of unhealthy set of ideas in my waiting room. How can you claim to be treating people on one hand while creating a fountain of expression for this societal disease. I don’t really particularly care if people find this sort of garbage entertaining. It’s going in the bin.

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